Tonee A. Lawson
The Be. Org
Just seven years after earning her bachelor’s degree, Tonee A. Lawson founded her own nonprofit, The Be. Org, devoted to developing Maryland’s youth. Her commitment to community service began early on, and has been the driving force behind her nonprofit.
Through her sorority in college, Lawson realized her desire to serve Baltimore’s youth, serving as program coordinator for the Rho Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Emerging Young Leader’s Initiative. The program focuses on character building and leadership development for middle school girls. From there, she continued her service to youth as a volunteer for the Greater Baltimore Urban League Saturday Leadership Program, where she conducts a variety of workshops for high school students on personal, professional and leadership skills.
Lawson used that experience to start her nonprofit in 2014, which encourages and nurtures youth to live above their socially-imposed limitations. The goal, she says, is to build up and empower young people to withstand peer pressures, societal norms and other negative influences to achieve remarkable excellence.
In 2017, The Be. Org successfully operated its first annual summer camp for elementary students in a low-income community. The program was a success with 100 percent participant and parent satisfaction.
In 2016, Lawson also founded Bmore R.I.S.E. (Remedy Injustice by Setting the Example), a grassroots organization that raises awareness about social issues. Setting an example is exactly why she gives back to the community every day.
“My mission in life is to help young people push through life’s barriers and continue dreaming. I am constantly reminded that they look up to me as a role model and I too must continue dreaming and not be limited by any barrier,” Lawson says.